Saturday, July 21, 2001

Alexander Knapp

Alexander Knapp is traveling all the way from his home in London, England to read at the Nye Beach Writers’ Series in conjunction with his appearance at the Ernest Bloch Music Festival.

For the past thirty years, Alexander Knapp has published articles and lectured on ethnomusicology world-wide. He is a composer, arranger, conductor, broadcaster on radio and television, and performer. He has been a consultant and accompanist to cantors and choirs recording Jewish music.

In 1992, Alexander was appointed the first Joe Loss Research Fellow in Jewish Music at City University, London. In 1993, he was invited to present the first-ever series of lectures on Jewish music at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He returned to China in 1994 and 1996 for additional lectures. His anthology of essays on Jewish music published by the Music Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Arts in 1998 is the first and only book in the Chinese language devoted exclusively to aspects of Jewish music.

Knapp’s lecture series for Spring 2001 at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies includes three categories: Jewish Music, Arabic Music and Miscellaneous. Among the many topics listed for Jewish Music, we find Temple Chant: Before and After, Jewish Music in the First Century, The Golden Age of the Cantor, The Life and Music of Ernest Bloch, and The Music of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley.

"Arabic Music" consists of a ten-session course covering geography, history, society and general culture, religion, sacred and secular vocal music, voice production and performance practice, solo instrumental music, melodic and rhythmic modes, dance, form, improvisation, composition, acculturation and interculturalism, modern developments, and popular styles.

Under "Miscellaneous," Knapp lists Aspects of Performing Arts and Ritual in Present-Day Buryatia (Eastern Siberia), Music From Around the World, Communicating through the Musical Score, and Musical Transcription.

All this is backed up with a dry wit and sparkling eyes. It might not seem so, but the audience is in for a real treat.

Karen Braucher

Featured on April 17, 1998 AND July 21, 2001

Poet Karen Braucher grew up in Massachusetts and has worked as a high-tech manager, consultant, business writer and teacher. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Masters of Education from Lesley College.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied with the late poet Richard Hugo. Her poetry won the Worcester Poetry Prize, the Grolier Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize. She was awarded a 1996 Oregon Literary Fellowship for her poetry. Her first book, Heaven's Net was the winner of the 4th Annual Bacchae Press Chapbook Contest.

If you think she's a stuffy academian, you couldn't be more wrong. Braucher is a playful writer and she's charming and funny in front of an audience.

Her new book of poetry, Sending Messages Over Inconceivable Distances is an exploration of her August 1992 journey to Changsha, Hunan Province, People's Republic of China. She went there to adopt a daughter who was then just eight weeks old. Braucher is donating all royalties from this book to the Foundation for Chinese Orphanages, a non-profit organization that sponsors projects in cooperation with the Chinese government to support children still living in Chinese orphanages.

Braucher is also the founding editor of The Portlandia Group, a fine poetry press that holds an annual Poetry Chapbook contest.

From her poem Travel Instructions for China:

Travel lightly
The itinerary can change at any time without notice
Your baby is liable to suffer from under-stimulation
She will be in culture shock
Your life will be permanently changed
In China, everything is difficult
But nothing is impossible
Bring coffee
Bring comfort foods
You are a woman
Travel lightly